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Of Love and Evil (Songs of the Seraphim, Book 2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 30, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Rice's slim second Songs of the Seraphim novel (after Angel Time), the angel Malchiah whisks ex-contract killer Toby O'Dare back to 16th-century Rome, where Toby must save Vitale de Leone, a young Jewish physician who's been implicated in the poisoning of his gentile master and accused of bringing a poltergeist-like dybbuk into the household. Toby resolves both problems efficiently, but tragedy ensues, shaking his faith and leaving him vulnerable to powers of evil lying in wait to exploit his weakness. Toby's life back in modern times also grows complicated with the sudden appearance of an ex-lover and the son he never knew, neither of whom he can share his angelic interventions with. Though the plot is surprisingly similar to that of its predecessor, Rice's fans will easily succumb to the charm of her lapidary prose and a cliffhanger ending that sets up the next book in the series. 200,000 first printing. (Dec.) (c)
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From Booklist

Toby O’Dare, the assassin who started on the path to redemption in Angel Time (2009), continues his quest for salvation. He has just learned that he’s the father of a 10-year-old boy and is nervously awaiting the arrival of his former lover, Liona, and their son at the Mission Inn in California. He longs to be a part of the boy’s life and to rekindle his relationship with Liona, but he is summoned on another time-traveling errand of mercy by the angel Malchiah. This time Toby is transported to fifteenth-century Rome to respond to the prayer of a Jewish physician named Vitale, whose best friend and patient, Niccolò, has clearly been poisoned. Given the city’s virulent anti-Semitism, Vitale is at risk if the real culprit isn’t discovered. In addition to helping Vitale save Niccolò, Toby must discover the origins of an angry spirit that is haunting the house Vitale lives in. Toby is surprised by the dangers he faces in a story shaped by Catholic doctrine. Readers who enjoy Rice’s larger-than-life tales and elegant writing will find much to appreciate here, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans eager for the next installment. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400043549
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400043545
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mark Colan VINE VOICE on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am a fan of Anne Rice's darker novels - the vampire series, the Mayfair witches series, and others; I have read 12 or more. In those books, she told stories within stories - often going back in time, sometimes very far back. Her books were characterized by dark passion, violence, horror, vivid and colorful descriptions, and an exploration of the thoughts and feelings of her characters.

Most fans are aware of the major change to her novels a few years ago, as she took on Christian themes. Actually, she had been moving that way for some time, for example when Lestat met Memnoch the Devil.

I lost interest in her books after the change, but I had an opportunity to review this one through the Vine program, so I gave it a try.

Some things have not changed. She still has stories within stories, going back in time. There are supernatural creatures - but instead of preternatural creatures, we now have angels and a ghost. She still gets into a lot of descriptive detail for the places we visit. And we get plenty of insight into the main character, but the angels remain vague and inscrutable.

Toby, the main character, is a man who has gone through a transformation from darkness to light, giving up his evil ways in favor of dedicating himself in the service of God. His redemption has made him passionately happy - he frequently weeps with joy. Personally, I can't relate to the ecstasy thing, and a lot of tiresome words are spent on this subject.

The book is very short, especially from an author known for writing long books. My review edition had less than 170 loosely-filled pages and plenty of white space. A book does not have to be long to be good, but this one is thin in pages AND plot.

It is the second in the "Angel Time" series.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the second book in the metaphysical thriller series "The Songs of the Seraphim". Anne Rice continues with the story of Toby O'Dare, who returns as the reformed contract killer set out to mend an injustice from the past. The book lays out the poetically tragic story of O'Dare's continuing journey of self-redemption, still in a constant battle of moral reflection and introspection. He hopes to escape his past by correcting the past. Through his eyes, we see a bit more of his history, and the realization that he cannot escape his past easily.

O'Dare travels back in time to Renaissance Rome, where he is given a mission of safeguarding Vitale, a distressed Jewish physician during a highly tumoltuous time, a time of anti-Semitism, rampant fears of demonic possessions, and the horrors of the Holy Inquisition. Vitale's house is possessed by a sirenic fallen angel called a "dybbuk" (an earthbound restless spirit, and maybe a new recurring character?). For a thin book, the story is riddled with twists and turns, plots and counterplots. The operatic plot is unraveled by O'Dare, as he sets forth on his mission to charm the troublesome spirit.

Poison and passion, forbidden love, crimes of the heart, and demonic possession... what else can you ask for?! Well, there's the next book, but let's be patient (an exercise of futility). This is an easy and enjoyable read. A pleasant surprise, because I enjoyed this book more than the first book (Angel Time). Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Anne Rice's Of Love and Evil, Songs of the Seraphim continues, the second in the new series of angels and assassins set in dark and dangerous worlds that is told in our time and in centuries past. Toby O'Dare, former government assassin , he is summoned by the angel Malchiah to fifteenth-century Rome to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to uncover the secrets of an earthbound restless spirit. His objective is to calm this restless spirit. As the story continues Toby is soon reconnected with his own past. Toby is a post-traumatic stress disorder survivor from his childhood where his mother slaughtered his brother. Due to his past makes him perfect for his mission, a vigilante who dispenses justice; he is a time traveler, and he is set to rid the world of horror. You must read the first in the series (Angel Time, 2009). It sets the stage for this sequel.

I have always been a big fan of Anne Rice and own every book she has ever written, her Vampire Chronicles, the Witches, she is an amazing storyteller. She combines her Catholicism, her fictional takes on the Gospel, and her passion for the dark side. This is a must for all Anne Rice fans, and if you have never read Anne Rice this is a great new series to get started with.
Highly recommended.
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Anne Rice books never cease to entrap me in this dreamlike state that occurs while I'm reading the books or afterwords. Normally, the need to continue reading her books dawns on you like a spontaneous desire for rich coffee or scrumptious chocolate. Every page of her books weaves an intricate web of rich design that contains many substantive spiritual truths contained within.
Her newest entry to the "Songs of the Seraphim," series does not deviate from the established, proven formula of her other novels. This is not a form of criticism. In actuality, her formula of enticing prose, first-person perspectives of a reclusive individual, and rich historical settings elevates her books to a very high level of quality. This year alone, I have read an estimated ten or twelve Anne Rice books, alongside a slew of college-required reads. Her books leave an imprint of great intrigue that cannot be divested. Instead, the reader only craves for the next installment in one of her many series or does research on some of the intriguing historical, spiritual, or philosophical questions raised in her books.

Anne Rice's inquisitive self has always been the strength of her novels. Every novel of hers is mostly centered around some difficult spiritual question that she herself has been wrestling with. "Of Love and Evil," raises an interesting dilemna that is pivotal to our faith. Now, that we have equipped ourselves with this new Christian perspective, What determines something as a good or evil act? More importantly, could a loving act that we believe reflects the spirit of Christ be a definably evil act?
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